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Alexander Csoma De Koros (Set Of 2 Volumes)

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Item Code: HAO279
Author: P. J. Marczell
Language: English
Edition: 2007
Pages: 935
Other Details 8.5x5.5 inch
Weight 1.31 kg
Book Description
About The Author

The author is a retired economic adviser still active in Switzerland as an art and film critic and a scholar of cultural history. His interest in religious philosophy bearing on human destiny goes back to an international export promotion assignment in Sri Lanka. His research in the life and studies of Csoma de Kőrös are motivated by his Hungarian origin and fit a concomitant programme tracing Hungarian expatriates who published significant works abroad in the 19th and earlier 20th centuries. In the last fifteen years he has lectured extensively on Csoma in English, French and Hungarian and has produced more than sixty papers and articles related to the ventures of that erudite cultural hero. (The collected Hungarian writings derived from these contributions prior to 2004 were published in 2003). He is on the advisory board of the International Association of Ladakh Studies, a member of the International Association of Tibetan Studies and of the International Association of Hungarian Studies.


It is a great privilege for me to present to serious students of Tibetology and Tibetan Buddhism the book "Alexander Csoma de Kőrös" by Dr. P. J. Marczell. The life and achievements of Alexander Csoma de Kőrös and his mission in life and the inspiration behind his mission need proper and objective reevaluation. Dr. Marczell in his research on Alexander Csoma de Kőrös attempted to delve into the mysteries of his life and achievements. This book based on latest available materials has thrown further light on Csoma de Kőrös and I hope, it would be greatly appreciated by all his admirers.

The Asiatic Society feels glorified by publishing this Volume on Alexander Csoma de Kőrös, the hermit scholar, since he lived, served and did his pioneering research work in the Asiatic Society.


The hero of this book is Alexander Csoma Körösi. This scholar from Hungary attained worldwide fame in the first half of the 19th century due to his heroism in compiling, in Zanskar and Kinnaur, a path-breaking Tibetan-English dictionary and a corresponding grammar and also for preparing later, in Calcutta, a concise review of the main body of Tibetan- Buddhist texts. His biographies provide incomplete and biased views because of their partisan spirit and insufficient database. This underlying deficiency is remedied to a considerable extent through the thirteen papers which comprise this body. These are based on the discovery of many new documents, original researches in the field and painstaking enquiries in Hungary and Romania which have enabled the author to throw new light on several important aspects of Csoma Kőrösi's character, behaviour and activities and to trace and relate such features to the respective traditions to which they belong. Although some of the studies are corrected or thoroughly rewritten versions of English texts published in specialized proceedings of learned societies, several of them are derived from essays published in Hungarian and one that appeared without proof- reading in an Indian periodical, they deserve to be added to the unpublished material and made available more definitively and conveniently in a separate book form.


On the scholarly achievements of Alexander Csoma de Körös I have little to add to the comments on his Dictionary by the finest of Tibetan lexicographers, H.A. Jaeschke: "High praise, however, is awarded by the Professor [Schmidt] to the Tibetan-English Dictionary by Csoma de Körös, which appeared in 1834. This work deserves all eulogy the work of Csoma de Körös is that of an original investigator and the fruit of almost unparalleled determination and patience."

I believe it is fair to say that the results of Csoma's unparalleled efforts on his Dictionary and Grammar were superseded by those of Jaeschke himself-but superseded by incorporation and adaptations, with full and detailed acknowledgement, into Jaeschke's own Dictionary and Grammar. Similarly his work on the Mahavyutpatti, eventually seeing the light of day in 1910-1916, was superseded by that of Sakaki. Would that our own work were superseded in such a fashion!

Csoma, however, lives on in roles other than that of a giant on whose shoulder later scholars stood. As Peter Marczell writes of the image of Alexander Csoma de Kőrös,

"In Hungary it satisfied the need for a saint hero of present days and the nostalgia for ethnic ties crediting a glorious past in the Far East. On the international scene it depended on the status of Tibetan."

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